Stagecoach Diorama with Unreasonably Protruding Antlers
Two of the men were looking at the woman’s breasts. One was not. They were doing this because the woman’s breasts were exposed, available to be looked at. The woman did not yet know they were available for anyone to look at because she was looking over her shoulder at the examination room entrance and she had not heard the three men enter through the exit door (a feature most examination rooms didn’t have) when the exit door swung open quietly and did not brush against the carpet that muffled their steps.
Perhaps she had been worried and trying to give herself a breast exam while she waited for the doctor. Perhaps she was considering altering their size and shape and she was trying to decide how much. Perhaps she was not a patient but the doctor’s wife or mistress impatient for a little afternoon delight and she wished to surprise the doctor.
But it was time to be thinking about something else now, with the men’s surprised intake of breath revealing their presence, so the woman covered her breasts and moved away, towards the entrance, without even turning her head back. She still didn’t see the three men, but she knew someone was there. How had she known they weren’t the doctor? The two men who had been looking at her breasts looked at each other.
Then the nurse was in the room and the woman was gone and the nurse was pointing at the third man and he was stepping forward. He was rising and adjusting his shirt and moving towards the commanding nurse with his eyes on where her breasts, that were not making any promises at all, might have been announcing themselves, had they been interested, beneath her starched and nearly shapeless smock, and he was smiling anyway and thinking about how to get her phone number and what kind of wine to buy for their first dinner.
The other two men watched this happening and they each imagined being the one that the nurse had selected and that her smile meant much more than friendly patience and they both felt oddly satisfied as they looked at each other and did not know if the lucky man they had been imagining or the man they were was the one they were really thinking about at that moment. Then they remembered the third man and they knew that they were not the man who was leaving the room with the nurse and for a moment they didn’t understand that this satisfied them.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.